The Two Ways to Search’s International Genealogical Index

Since early 2015, has offered two different ways to search its International Genealogical Index (IGI), a collection that contains more than 400 million entries of vital events such as births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths collected since the IGI was first available on microfiche in 1973.

Search Option 1

The first way to search the IGI is using the Genealogies search form: Before you hit the Search button, click on the All button (with a down arrow), and select just the IGI. You’ll want to select the tab to Search With a Relationship, since AF numbers don’t apply to the IGI records. For information on viewing search results using this search form, see the Viewing Genealogies Search Results section earlier in this chapter.

Search Option 2

The second way to search the IGI is to go to This search form allows you to get a little more detailed with your IGI search because here, you can select whether or not to include both parts of the collection, just the Community Contributed IGI, or just the Community Indexed IGI. The form also has fields for searching

  • on first and last names
  • with a life event (such as a birth, marriage, residence, or death place and year range)
  • with a relationship (such as spouse, parents, or other person)
  • by batch number, film number, or serial/sheet number
IGI search result

Notice the Contributed IGI and Indexed IGI tabs on the search results page

When using this second option for searching, the results window separates the results into two tabs: one for the Contributed IGI and one for the Indexed IGI (see image at right). Each tab has columns for Name, Events, and Relationships.

Under the person’s name in each entry in the Name column, it lists what records collection the information originated in. This could be the IGI (for Community Contributed IGI results) or a vital-records or church collection (for Community Indexed IGI results).

The Events column includes any combination of birth, marriage, or death dates and locations. The Relationship column typically lists any spouse, children, or parents associated with the IGI entry.

To view a full entry from your search results, you can click on the person’s name linked in the Name column in either results tab. For results under the Indexed IGI tab, there’s one additional column: Preview, where you can click the down arrow to preview the record without having to jump to an entirely new viewing window.

Pedigree view IGI

A detailed view of a record in the IGI on

If you click the person’s name to view an entry in the Community Contributed IGI results, you’ll see a portion of a pedigree chart with vital-records information and family connections. It also shows the submitter’s name and/or number. To save this record, the only option available is to print a hard copy.

Under the Indexed IGI tab, results windows will show a record transcription, as you would see for other historical records you find. You can then copy the information, print it, add it to your Source Box, share it via social media or e-mail, or attach it to your family tree.

With any information you find in the IGI, it’s important to verify it in the original records or other primary sources.

(Excerpted adapted from Unofficial Guide to, on sale now at and


Dana McCullough is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes, edits, copy-edits, and proofreads content for magazines, blogs, websites, books, and more. She is the owner of Dana’s Creative Services and author of the Unofficial Guide to Twitter:@DanasCreative

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Posted in Genealogy/Family History
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